I feel that I have been exceedingly negligent in posting about the trip, but as someone has said, after a move it's not as if you can just do a few loads of laundry and be done. (In fact, I still haven't finished bringing in the toys and spare snacks from the car.)
The first two days we just drove straight up to northern Wisconsin, where we visited a friend for a few days. We had a lovely time walking in the woods, watching the snow fall, and generally relaxing after a very exhausting week . . . month . . . year . . .
After we left Wisconsin, our first notable stop was at Mall of America, which we visited ONLY because it has a large Lego store. To our bewilderment, D2 wandered off and insisted he wanted to go on a neighboring amusement park ride. We persuaded him that it was impossible and finally left, ears ringing, brains buzzing, the only benefit being everybody had a chance to stretch their legs out of the rain.
Our next destination, near the end of the next day, was the Badlands. This was particularly noteworthy as we arrived near sunset, and the older ducklings were on the watchout for bad cowboys the entire time. DOB and I were more watching out for staying on the road and not hitting antelope.
The following day we had gloriously warm weather and visited Mt. Rushmore. D1 and D2 were most impressed by the "mountain with faces." We stopped for a roadside picnic at a lovely little spot only a few minutes up the road from the main visitors' area--which turned out to be a good thing when a certain child who shall remain nameless realized an urgent need despite ceaseless attempts to take care of all such things before leaving the last available restroom.
The following day we had the choice to drive through Wyoming or Montana and settled on Wyoming, being rewarded by a drive on an even more lovely day through the incredibly beautiful Bighorn Mountains and Ten Sleep Canyon. We were hard-pressed to move on as everyone was ready to settle down as cowboys. (The good kind, of course.)
Bad weather had to catch up with us again at some point, and it finally did at Yellowstone. We still braved the drizzle to watch Old Faithful erupt, and saw a few other features before sleet settled our minds that it was time to move on.
The following day we drove a longish ways to central Washington so we could have a short drive the following day. That also gave us the chance to spend the night with some acquaintances, which was fun and relaxing. Midway we had the serendipity to discover a lovely park when we pulled off to look for gas in Idaho, and gave the kids the chance to climb on play equipment, something that they had found rather absent amid all the scenic beauty.
After putting in five to seven hours of driving each day, our final stretch of three hours seemed effortless. We didn't even bother to stop. We had seen plenty of rocks and trees and trees and rocks and so forth.